The Dawgs proved at least one thing on Saturday afternoon — they can still win games they are expected to win.
Butler Men’s Basketball shined key moments during their 68-58 home win against the DePaul Blue Demons in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Scoring came from both ends of Butler’s age range, with both redshirt senior Bryce Nze and freshman Chuck Harris, scoring 22 points each.
Junior transfer Bo Hodges also added seven points in just his third game this season but struggled from the field for much of Saturday’s contest.
Early in the first half, the Bulldogs played staunch defense but missed shots close to the basket that led to DePaul breaking out to an 18-6 lead. From that point forward, Butler would go on to outscore the Blue Demons 62-40, playing superb defense for much of the second half.
Harris led the way for Butler early, converting on three deep 3-pt field goals and stretching out the Blue Demons defense. He went on to finish just 5 for 12 from the floor and was 4 of 8 from behind the arc.
Nze, meanwhile, was far more efficient scoring, starting the game 5 for 5 from the field. The biggest surprise was the forward’s 3-point shooting — Nze went 3 out of 4 on Saturday to raise his percentage to 44% from three on the year.
On the opposing side, Javon Freeman-Liberty, a transfer from Valparaiso, was nearly a one-man scoring machine. Freeman-Liberty ended with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.
In all, Butler went 24 out of 36 from the line, a welcome departure from the struggles the team has had with free throws this season. The Bulldogs converted on two-thirds of these, including their 24 attempted free throws in the second half alone.
With the win, Butler moves to 6-10 (5-8) on the season, good enough for a three-way tie for seventh place in the Big East. DePaul sinks to 3-8 (1-8) with the loss — last place in the conference.
Butler also snaps a three-game losing skid and picks up their first win in the month of February. Six more games remain on the Bulldogs’ schedule.
The Dawgs’ next contest will be a home matchup against the St. John’s Red Storm (13-7 (7-6)) on Tuesday in Indianapolis. Tip-off is set for 9 pm from Hinkle Fieldhouse.